CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

Syndicate content
Discussion boards hosted by CTC, the national cycling charity
Updated: 19 min 25 sec ago

Patagonia, Carretera Austral, south to Ushuaia

22 July 2014 - 9:33am
I completed my first South American venture earlier this year and it was a truly awesome experience. South along the Carretera Austral from Puerto Montt and then south to Ushuaia. Taking time out for treks through stunning National Parks / Glaciers the 3 month venture was amazing. An account can be found on my blog www.martinphilpot.co.uk. Any questions /advice - happy to offer.

Re: Cycling to Nordkapp: searching for suggestions

22 July 2014 - 6:14am
serbring wrote:Vorpal wrote:Lots of food advice on viewtopic.php?f=16&t=86142

Thanks Vorpal, you're the wikipedia of this forum
You only think that because you're looking for information about Norway.

Re: Cycling to Nordkapp: searching for suggestions

21 July 2014 - 10:44pm
Vorpal wrote:Lots of food advice on viewtopic.php?f=16&t=86142

Thanks Vorpal, you're the wikipedia of this forum

Re: Getting to Whitehaven

21 July 2014 - 9:51pm
NUKe wrote:You can't book on line, but you should be able to book at the station. You can still book the cheaper fares in the station

Not with northern rail. They just have a turn up policy and some sensible staff. Main concern would be if a team of c2c ers turned up but I'd be relaxed about it.

Re: Switzerland

21 July 2014 - 9:27pm
> A pricey place to visit but neat and tidy just about everywhere - that's the Swiss for you
> A camping municipal on the shores of Lake Geneva for one night/one tent/2 persons = 32 Swiss Francs = £21

Re: Shipping the bike by plane

21 July 2014 - 9:23pm
BeeKeeper wrote:This was my bike earlier this year before sliding it into the CTC bag. The blue stuff was a stiff foam which was used to protect the edges of a worktop which we had had delivered. I guess you might be able to blag some off a builders merchant or buy the foam insulation you get for wrapping round pipes. It is not essential, stiff cardboard does equally as good a job of protecting the vulnerable bits. The only bits I removed apart from one pedal (the other was reversed, see picture) were the bottle racks which fit on the front forks. These were stowed in the frame bag. My panniers travelled in an 80 litre Bergan liner with a webbing luggage strap around them. The Bergan liner is very light and folds up small for stowing in the bottom of a pannier. It is useful as the airline charged per item of luggage so the two panniers in a bag only counted as one. My bar bag was my carry on luggage. Note tyres were deflated as per the airline's rules although no one checked them at Bristol when I checked it in.

I only needed the CTC bag for a one way flight as we came back by ferry but if you need a bag for the return journey I would recommend buying a second one and leave it unopened. It will take up a lot less room on your bike than if you try and fold up the bag used on the outward journey.

Was it robust enought that protection of the light? I'm afraid that the bracket might bend.

Re: Anyone recommend any good books?

21 July 2014 - 9:06pm
Sweep wrote
I can recommend this.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Touring-Surviva ... ival+guide

Not a travelogue but you will learn more from it than reading several travelogues about the practicalities.

Answers lots of sensible questions (even stupid ones - stupid questions are often the best) you will have thought of, some you will have thought of but were too embarrassed to ask and some you maybe haven't thought of but should have done.

But no worries they will ask and answer them for you.

With this on a Kindle you could prepare for a trip in no time and if you take it with you will have a ready reference for comfort and advice along the way.

I bought this a couple of years ago from their website http://www.travellingtwo.com and a couple of days ago I received an email from them telling me that I was entitled to download the new updated edition for free. I did so and it is absolutely excellent. The focus is primarily on lengthy tours but the advice is equally applicable to shorter jaunts.
Highly recommended.

Re: Cycling to Nordkapp: searching for suggestions

21 July 2014 - 8:54pm
Nigel Laverick wrote:I have just returned from a trip across Europe which included Norway. It took me 4 weeks from Kristianland to North Cape it was ab . I got my route in Norway from the net , I can't remember the name of the site but it is an account written by an Australian lady who rode N.Cape to Kristianland , you'll find it easily. Take front and rear lights for the tunnels and don't worry about the N. Cape tunnels because they are ok ( and I don't like tunnels). Watch out for Germany , the cycle paths are terrible and the motorists do not want you on the road, I was carved up and got really fed up with them blasting their horns at me. The cycle paths are so bumpy that they bust my rear bearings and I have good touring wheels. I would get the train to Denmark and ride from there, I rode up the west coast and the cycle paths and drivers were superb. If you are going in July or August take mossie repellant and a mossie hood. Norway is not expensive if you use supermarkets , a jar of coffee costs 25nk , a 500g bag of pasta 12nk, a good loaf 28nk , 400g of minced meat 20nk .... best of all you can get a free cup of coffee at quite a few of the smaller coop stores. Campsites varied between 100nk and 150nk and they nearly all (bar one ) had good campers kitchens. You can get the bus back from Hennig something on N Cape to Alta airport for 380nk. Good luck Nigel L

Hi Nigel,

Thanks for your suggestions. Interesting. How was the weather? Regarding food I'd prefer to not bring with me the cooking equipment. Can I get something just prepared on the road, like sandwiches, piece of cakes, and so on? Are this kind of meals expensive?

Re: Switzerland

21 July 2014 - 6:57pm
I left Venice airport last year on a tour through Switzerland to France and found the following route pretty good and takes you through the Dolomites arguably the prettiest part of Europe if you like mountains. You'd be doing it the other way around...of course!!!!
There was an old road north out of Venice, bypassed by the motorway up the River Piave valley which joins up with the excellent bike track using an old railway via Cortina d'Ampezzo to Dobbiaco where you can head down (or up in your case!) the Rienza valley via Brunico to Brixen and Bozen. Head to Merano (v cycle friendly town) on more good bike tracks up the Adige valley and over the Stelvio and Umbrai pass if you're adventurous or further north via Nauders if you're not, into the lower Engadine and Eastern Switzerland. I continued west but you'd be going east obviously.
I went along over the Albula Pass near St Moritz from there to go along the Rhine bike path to the Rhone valley bike path.
I do like mountain passes and bike tracks though but this route worked well for me and you could use it in reverse.
Leaving Venice airport was OK, some busy roads but it was a Saturday pm so quieter than usual. For Giro d'Italian reasons I wanted to do Monte Grappa so I headed west and came around by Feltre and Belluno on country roads and it was lovely. I don't think there is a bike friendly way into Maestre airport if that is where you are headed.
I should say that Switzerland is horribly expensive to spend time in, their currency is very strong and cafes and eating out is about double or more the price of the UK. The hostels are pretty good though.
Have fun!
Another Keith

Re: First EVER Tour! (and I'm going RTW)

21 July 2014 - 6:47pm
Walden wrote:Warmshowers is a great way to keep your budget low as well as meeting great people. I have has excellent experiences using it in Norway and also as a host when I lived in London.

Thanks Walden. I'm signed up to WarmShowers, and Couchsurfing too, but I haven't used either of them yet on this trip. It's probably something I should look into, I think most of Macedonia would agree that I need a shower

Re: Getting to Whitehaven

21 July 2014 - 6:31pm
You could do what I did on 21st June. I used Virgin to get from London to LLandudno Junction and it was full as regards booking a bike. So I bagged it (front and rear wheels out and strapped either side of frame) and carried it on as luggage. No complaint from train manager or passengers - just fitted into luggage rack.
Just as well I did because at Chester we were all chucked off because of a signals fault and they laid a coach on to another train station. Again no problem with the coach driver. When on the Arriva train to complete the journey there was no space for bikes or anything else and I had to stand in the doorway. Other passengers lifted my bike over their heads to put it on a rack.
The moral - in a bag it is NOT a bike.

Re: Getting to Whitehaven

21 July 2014 - 4:36pm
You can't book on line, but you should be able to book at the station. You can still book the cheaper fares in the station

Re: Switzerland

21 July 2014 - 4:06pm
Everything you need for Switzerland, routes, accomodation etc can be found on the swiss tourist board site http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/inte ... cling.html Included on there are all the recommended cycle routes and tips on accomodation, places of interest etc.

Most town and attraction web sites are available in English and they speak English in most places, maybe less so in the French speaking west but i've never found it to be an issue.

Trains, boats and most out of town buses will carry bikes if you get stuck. Accomodation can be expensive but increasingly campsites are offering huts in the Scandinavian style which whilst self catering are a step up from camping and a lot cheaper than hotels - worth checking out.

Some of the passes take a long time to climb - its not their steepness per se but you can be climbing for 20-30km sometimes. Make allowances for that and try to avoid crossing later in the day - you'll be tired and the weather has a habit of getting a bit nasty too! Last year there was still lying snow at the top of some passes in August and at the top of the Grimsel it was down to 2c!

Re: Beware Gatwick / Norwegian airline & unpacked bikes

21 July 2014 - 3:13pm
Given that Norwegian have been so obdurate on this one, I would get it in writing that a cardboard box is acceptable as a "hard box/case" and, as always, have paper copies of everything with you at check-in.

Next time you emigrate to America with a bike, pitchshifter, consider Virgin Atlantic. I mention them because of their brilliant sports equipment carriage terms.

Re: Getting to Whitehaven

21 July 2014 - 11:09am
eezypeazy wrote:If I were you' I'd try to avoid travelling on a 'rush hour' train from Newcastle, though.

I was planning on travelling on a Saturday afternoon - so there wouldn't be a rush hour then unless it means something other than the usual?
Not too bothered about the cost really, compared with the cost of fuel it's cheap!

Re: Getting to Whitehaven

21 July 2014 - 10:55am
Most of the conductors on the Newcastle-Carlisle and Carlisle-Whitehaven/Barrow trains are used to carrying cyclists and very accommodating. Despite the 'official' line being that two bikes can be carried, I've seen five bikes at once this year on the Carlisle train, and a few years ago saw NINE bikes on the local train to Whitehaven (which was a single carriage train)!

If I were you' I'd try to avoid travelling on a 'rush hour' train from Newcastle, though.

Northern Rail have some off-peak on-line advance tickets that may be worth looking at - eg, Ncl - Carlisle leaving Newcastle at 1424 on Friday 1st August is £4.50; then 1631 Carlisle - Whitehaven is £10.20 on the day, total £14.70, compared with a 'through' ticket price of £18.90. That saves £4.20!

EDIT: Cheap fares only available Monday - Friday!

Re: Getting to Whitehaven

21 July 2014 - 10:50am
Richard Fairhurst wrote:The guards on the Cumbrian Coast line are very used to C2C cyclists and will bend the maximum number of bike spaces a bit - well, ok, a lot. If possible, I'd suggest getting a train earlier just so you're not stranded if you miss out, and avoiding the rush hour if you can.

Thanks. I was looking at the direct train from Newcastle at 16.22 on the Saturday. There are earlier ones but you have to change at Carlisle.

Re: Getting to Whitehaven

21 July 2014 - 10:47am
The guards on the Cumbrian Coast line are very used to C2C cyclists and will bend the maximum number of bike spaces a bit - well, ok, a lot. If possible, I'd suggest getting a train earlier just so you're not stranded if you miss out, and avoiding the rush hour if you can.

Re: Lon Las Cymru on starting on Sat 6.9.14, campsite sugges

21 July 2014 - 10:19am
This is a great route, we did it from Holyhead to Cardiff a couple of years ago. It took 6 days, so 5 nights camping. We decided to eat our main evening meal in pubs, so all campsites were chosen to be near towns or villages.
First night was at Cae Garw Campsite near the centre of Caernarvon, postcode LL55 2DF. An easy walk into town, very rural feel despite being in town, and best of all it had a segregated car-free pitching area for real campers.
Next night was at a pleasant coastal site just north of Barmouth - good choice of breakfast cafes, I've forgotten the site name I'm afraid but there were a few sites around the resort.
Next was Dol Llys Farm camping SY18 6JA just outside Llanidloes. Lovely spacious site on the banks of the Severn. It has a campers' kitchen where you can use a microwave and kettle. Good curry in Llanidloes.
Next was somewhere around Newbridge, but I've forgotten the name (and it wasn't very nice anyway!).
Last camp was near Brecon at Pencelli Castle site, LD3 7LX. Very nice, and pub-restaurants within walking distance.
We learned not to follow the Lon Las signs when passing through larger towns, signs were often poor and it was a recipe for getting hopelessly lost on a network of local cycle lanes. We just followed the motorists' road-signs and sped efficiently through towns. Similarly in the countryside the NCN route would sometimes take us off a pleasant quiet lane onto a difficult gravel track, so it's best to plan your own route albeit based around the Lon Las trail. The Sustrans philosophy seems to be to avoid motor-roads at all costs.


  • Patron: Her Majesty The Queen
  • President: Jon Snow
  • Chief Executive: Paul Tuohy
  • Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC): A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no.25185. Registered as a charity in England and Wales No 1147607 and in Scotland No SC042541


Terms and Conditions